Integrating research and education in a study of Arctic frost-boil ecosystems

TitleIntegrating research and education in a study of Arctic frost-boil ecosystems
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsGould, WA, Walker, LA, González, G
Conference NameAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2003
Date Published12/2003
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union
Conference LocationSan Francisco, CA
Accession NumberLUQ.1122
Keywordsplant ecology

We have integrated the field course Arctic Field Ecology with an interdisciplinary research project investigating the interactions of climate, vegetation, and permafrost in the study Biocomplexity of Arctic Frost-boil Ecosystems. Arctic Field Ecology is designed to introduce undergraduate and graduate students to field studies in the Arctic to gain an understanding of the structure and function of arctic ecosystems and the current state of Arctic research. The integration of the field course and research is designed to 1. Give students sufficient background in regional ecology and ecological issues to place the Biocomplexity project within the context of current directions in science, 2. Introduce students to the project objectives, methods, and personnel, 3. Provide for interaction with all the participating scientists, including discussion and field experience, 4. Encourage students to develop questions and hypotheses for future research, and 5. Give students the opportunity to interact with indigenous people with interests in Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Arctic Field Ecology is offered by the University of Minnesota. Formal and informal seminars are provided by the course leaders, project scientists, and native speakers. Students are involved in field sampling activities and discussions associated with the biocomplexity project goals. Each student develops and presents a research proposal based on their interests and understanding of the current trends in ecological research in the region. A major philosophy of the course is that the natural arctic environment is a key source of ideas and inspiration, guided and augmented by the interaction with instructors, project scientists and native people.